Chatbots and the Future of Intelligent Customer Engagement
The unprecedented growth in eCommerce has undoubtedly created a customer relations nightmare for the companies. Since almost all of these enterprises are essentially a marketplace where buyers and sellers connect and make deals, the chances of complaints landing on the desk of the platform are high. This necessitates a round-the-clock service option where adding human resources adds to the cost. Solutions need to be innovative and chatbots were the first step. However, recall how many times you used these and felt frustrated because it did not create the outcome you were seeking. Either the complaint option was missing or the chatbot just kept you taking round and round.
Such an experience could prove to be the last straw on the camel’s back, resulting in customers giving a poor review and hopping on to the next eCommerce player who enters the market. Of course, the chances are that a last straw would just be round the corner even with this platform. So, what’s the answer? Chatbots need to become intelligent and this should be visible with each engagement. This is where some concepts such as artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) could come in handy. Praveen Kumar, Vice President – Digital and Innovation at JK Technosoft explains why AI-powered conversational chatbots could be the savior that eCommerce platforms have been seeking…
CXOToday: How are AI-powered conversational chatbots helping e-commerce?
Praveen Kumar: In these testing times and resource crunch, the significance of conversational chatbot increases even more. The typical sales representative of the pre-COVID period is being gradually replaced by e-catalogues and Digital FAQs embedded in intelligent chatbot. Devices like Alexa, Siri and Google Play have made Conversational AI a household item, and people are really comfortable in using them. Be it placing an order or finding more information about a product, because of its frictionless nature, this has become the preferred way of communication between customers and businesses.
Also, AI chatbots play a vital role in mapping accurate user information, behavior analysis of the users, and fostering buyer loyalty. The conversational AI can be integrated with your existing Loyalty program, AI-based consumer-based predictions, customer lifetime value, and social media behaviors to impart the best possible customer journey.
The chatbot maintains the History of each of its chat sessions and retrieves it in real-time. Since this information is collated into a central repository and being retrieved from there, customers do not have to wait in queues for retrieval of information from various sources. These are also mostly equipped with customer sentiment analytics modules. Also, there are independent services available to be integrated with chatbots to provide sentiment analytics from leading platforms like AWS, Azure and Google.
CXOToday: What are the immediate security challenges?
Praveen Kumar: Basically, there are two major security challenges associated with chatbot they are categorized as threats and vulnerabilities. In the first category, a chatbot could pose include spoofing or impersonating someone else, tampering of data, and data theft. On the other hand vulnerabilities are ways that a system can be compromised, which is not properly mitigated. A system can become vulnerable and open to attack when it is not well maintained, has poor coding, lacks protection, or due to human errors. Chatbot implementation has matured over the last few years to not only overcome these security challenges, but also to report possible security threats.
CXOToday: Can conversational chatbots replace humans?
Praveen Kumar: One of the most common use cases of chatbots in service desk function is, provisioning and de-provisioning. Whenever a new employee joins an organization, the person needs to go through a series of onboarding steps. This includes induction, access to the facility, internal systems, databases, etc. Chatbots are helping automate these processes by up to 95%. In fact, a well-integrated chatbot can make the customer experience so seamless that it gets difficult to differentiate whether one is interacting with a machine (chatbot) or a human. Nonetheless, there are still some scenarios where human intervention is needed like introducing to managers or specific business functions. Not only dealing with customers, these AI-powered chatbots will play a vital role in fostering internal communication in organizations in the nearer futures, many such bots are already being commonly used by internal employees as well as directly by the end-users. The effectiveness of such bots can be foreseen in performing various HR activities in the future. And this becomes relevant for the e-commerce industry where onboarding or off-boarding of resources is a constant exercise. For now, however AI chatbots won’t fully replace humans. While certain functions as mentioned could be replaced to provide a faster and more efficient interaction with customers.
CXOToday: What is the future of AI-powered conversational chatbots?
Praveen Kumar: AI-powered conversational chatbots will undoubtedly drive the future of customer engagement in e-commerce industry, in comparison to a regular chatbot. It can transform the process of customer interaction, where the customer no longer has to deal with the limited options provided by a primitive chatbot. The devices like Alexa and Google Assistant have now become common items of day-to-day life, as people are now much more comfortable conversing with conversational AI engines.